Don Quijote attacking the windmills (that he thinks are monsters) is used as a metaphor for something noble and brave for an individual. I often hear that being an agile advocate inside large organization can be something like this -maybe so. But on the other hand I have the privilege to work with brilliant people and when working together the windmills actually look pretty small. They are there, no doubt about it, but the initial challenge feels much smaller. There cannot be a situation when one is right and everyone else is wrong. This is something we all can leverage and feel more safe -we are definetly not alone!
What then can be seen as windmills inside a large corporation? I just found a good writing from Craig Larman, Bas Vodde and Tom Arbogast http://bit.ly/LVO6fL. This primer summarizes pretty well the real monsters inside traditional organization: like when your business is based on 10 years contracts with penalties, there is not much that lean and agile can help you with. If your value proposition is already contracted (with penalties) what there is left to iterate?
However agile adoption tends to spread. It takes over the next silo and starts to make changes in the peoples heads. This will take time, but if we just allow it to happen, it will make our life much easier. And please remember: There is nothing to lose but a lot to gain.